KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh is keeping to his word that he will remain in Umno and as Kalabakan Umno division chief.
The Kalabakan MP said this to reporters at the airport here after his return from Kuala Lumpur on Thursday after resigning as Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister.
"I have not been approached by the opposition and I will remain as the Kalabakan Umno chief. I am not quitting Umno,” he said.
Ghapur, 64, submitted his resignation letter eight days after accepting the appointment of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
"People can speculate whatever they like but my track record shows I have never 'jumped' like the others during the Parti Bersatu Sabah time,” he said, referring to PBS assemblymen switching parties in 1994 which led to the collapse of the government of Chief Minister Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
He said he agreed to take up the ministerial post at first because he had little time to think about the offer by Abdullah.
"It could have been different if the Prime Minister had informed me earlier. It was only after the swearing-in ceremony that I consulted family members and friends about it,” he said, adding that he did not want to be tied up with the duties of a deputy minister.
Ghapur, who has friends on both sides of the political divide, began his political career under the now defunct Berjaya party government and joined Umno when the party entered Sabah in 1991.
He was a former Sabah deputy chief minister and quit abruptly in 1997 but came back three years later into the state cabinet before contesting for the Kalabakan MP seat in 2004 which he won twice uncontested.
Ghapur is the second Sabah MP and third in Abdullah's government to turn down the deputy minister’s post. The other two are Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman and Jerantut MP Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Abu Bakar.